Bulgaria is distinguished for its beautiful nature which has charmed everyone who has ever visited the country. Its territory is not that extensive at all, but being concentrated on such tiny space, natural landmarks are even more fascinating. The sublime mountains, age-old forests, lovely valleys, great plains, golden coastline and incredible sea-water make Bulgarian nature attractive. That is why Bulgaria takes pains to preserve its natural landmarks by turning vast areas of land into natural reserves and national parks. The country ranks second in the world as far as natural reserves are concerned and they number 17.
The climate in Bulgaria is moderate continental with four yearly seasons and average annual temperature of 10.5 Cº. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of 0 degrees Cº. The average air temperature in the summer is 30 C. and the average water temperature - 25 Cº.
Basic characteristic features of the country’s natural life are the great variety and wealth of animal and plant species and their considerable ecological and biogeographical diversity. The vegetable life of Bulgaria numbers about 12 000 species.
The most common and often met animals and birds are the typical of Europe: hinds, deer, wild-boars, bears, wolves, foxes, jackals, wood-grouses, vultures, sparrows, grass-snakes, etc.
Altogether in Bulgaria are to be found about 40 000 invertebrate species.
Protection of the natural world is one of the country’s major concerns.
The protected territories are 49, the biospherical reserves - 17 (the greatest recorded number in Europe), the national parks - 7, the reserves - 82, the protected natural sites - 3055, the protected plants - 63 and the protected animals - 419.
The air and water resources of the country are some of the purest in Europe.
National parks are vast areas of land, which include natural ecosystems with a great variety of plant and animal species. National parks in Bulgaria are three:
National Park “Rila” www.rilanationalpark.org , Area-107 923 ha, Declared on the 24th of February, 1992;
National Park “Central Balkan” www.centralbalkannationalpark.org , Area- 73 261 ha, Declared on the 31st of October,1991;
National Park “Pirin” ” http://www.pirin-np.com/English/pirin-np_E.htm , Area - 40 066 ha, Declared : 08.11.1962.
Natural parks http://www.bg-parks.net
Natural parks(NP) are territories, which include various natural ecosystems. There are 10 natural parks in Bulgaria:
NP “Stranja” www.parkstrandja.hit.bg - Area- 116 136 ha, Declared in 1995
NP “Vrachanski Balkan” http://www.bg-parks.net/main.php?act=parks&park=vrbalkan : Area- 30 130 ha, Declared in 1989
NP “Vitosha” http://www.park-vitosha.org/ : Area- 26 607 ha, Declared in 1934
NP “The Blue Stones” http://www.bg-parks.net/main.php?act=parks&park=skamyni :Area- 7 094 ha, Declared in 1980.
NP “Shoumensko Plateau” http://www.bg-parks.net/main.php?act=parks&park=splato : Area- 3 896 ha, Declared in 1980
NP “Rousenski Lom” http://www.bg-parks.net/main.php?act=parks&park=rusenskilom : Area- 3 260 ha, Declared in 1970
NP “Golden Sands” http://www.bg-parks.net/main.php?act=parks&park=zpqsuci : Area- 1 320 ha, Declared in 1943
NP “Bulgarka” http://www.ppbulgarka.nug.bg/bg/index.html : Area- 463 ha, Declared in 1967
NP “The Oaks” : Area- 404 ha, Declared in 1951
NP “Persina” http://www.bg-parks.net/main.php?act=parks&park=persina Area –
Lakes and rivers
The rivers in Bulgaria are not big and are not useful for shipping. They begin from the mountains. They are used for irrigation and for this was build hydrostatics and equipments for irrigation for the areas.
Bulgaria has 526 rivers longer than 2.3 km.
The rivers in Bulgaria are flowing into Black sea and Aegean Sea. These who are flowing into Black sea taking 63 thousand Sq. m. from Bulgarian area, those who are pouring into Aegean Sea - 47 thousand sq. m. The only navigable river is the Danube, which flows along the northern Bulgarian border. Kamchia river is the biggest river from those inside who are flowing into the Black sea. She is 244 km. Long. The high-water river is Maritsa. She is 472 km. long whose 322 km. are on Bulgaria area. The Iskar river is 368 km. long.
There are not many lakes in Bulgaria and there aren't large by their size. The lakes that are coming from glaciers (more then 150) are situated in Rila mountains. The most of the lakes are situated on the Black sea and Danube river costs. There are few firth-lakes in Bulgaria. The biggest is Bourgas lake, with 28 sq. m. area, who is located in Bourgas town http://www.obstina-bourgas.org/ . Tourist interest takes Srebarna lake, who is located near to Silistra town www.silistra.bg
There are good opportunities for adventure tourism: wild water rafting and canoeing, diving, delta- and para-gliding in the valleys of the Vatcha, Iskar, Chepelarska, Struma, and Mesta rivers.
Arda is a river in Bulgaria which begins in the Rhodope Mountains near the town of Smolyan http://www.smolyan.com , flowing 290 kilometre eastward past Kurdzhali http://kardjali.bg/ and Ivaylovgrad http://www.ivaylovgrad.info/ then enters the Maritsa, just west of Edirne, Turkey.
The Maritsa river is 472 km long. It has its origin in the Rila Mountains in Western Bulgaria, flowing southeast between the Balkans and Rhodope Mountains, past Plovdiv, to Edirne, Turkey, where it turns south to enter the Aegean Sea near Enez. The Tundzha is its chief tributary. The Maritsa's lower course forms part of the Bulgarian-Greek border and the Greek-Turkish line.
The upper Maritsa valley is a principal east-west route in Bulgaria. The unnavigable river is used for power production and irrigation.
Ropotamo river springs from a place near to the village of Bosna (some 50 kilometers to the west in the Strandzha Mountains). The mouth of the Ropotamo river is situated in the middle of the coast line stretching between the holiday city of Duni and the town of Primorsko, about 45km to the south of Bourgas.
The most distinguishing feature of the river is that it is salt. In its beginning it is freshwater, but after a few kilometers it becomes salt. The only place where there was fresh water was the "King well" near to the riverside of Ropotamo.
The river has a rich and unique variety of flora and fauna. The Ropotamo river is particularly famous for its tender water lilies. A boat trip down the river or a walk along its banks is an unforgettable experience. The tourists are delight from every tortoise, at every heron, sneak and bird. There are 3 species of tortoises in the river and some of those species grew to 35 sm.
The waters of the river are brown, the water looks dirty, but it is not, and this is because the red plankton reproduced here. In the region of the Ropotamo river the fishing and the hunting are forbidden.
Kamchia River - The merging of two small rivulets, springing from the eastern Balkan Range - Luda Kamchia and Golyama Kamchia, forms the Kamchia River. It empties some 9000 liters of water every second into the Black Sea. During the spring, that amount can be as much as 30, 000 liters per second. Running down through the Balkan Range Kamchia meanders through unique woodland called Longoza. The Ropotamo River, Dyavolska River and the Veleka River have similar geological structure - sandstone, clay loam formations covered with wild vegetation in the quiet and large firth. Once Kamchia was called Panisos and the Slavs called it Ticha. Its contemporary name is of Kouman origin. The Romans built a stronghold called Erite on its left bank. Nowadays the frequently flooded area is a reserve named after the Kamchia River. The reserve is under the protection of UNESCO. It is 40 km in length and 5 km in width in some of its parts. There are deer, sea hawks and eagles, wild boars, wild cats etc.